Unfortunately it is sometimes not possible to save a tooth anymore. At this point the tooth will probably need removing or 'extracting', which leaves a gap in the smile. Some people choose to live with this gap and others prefer to fill the gap with an artificial or prosthetic tooth option.
There are generally 3 types of tooth replacement options available. Not every option is suitable for every patient so you will need an in depth discussion with a dentist to decide what is best for you but here is some information on the different types.
Dentures are removable false teeth made of acrylic (plastic) or metal. They fit snugly over the gums to replace missing teeth and eliminate potential problems caused by gaps.
The most non-invasive and cheapest option is generally a plastic removable tooth that is held in place using a plate in the roof or floor of your mouth. It needs to be removed when you clean your teeth and also at night whilst you sleep.
There is the option to add features to your plastic denture to help it to stay in for instance you could decide to have clasps incorporated in the design to help retention.
Another option is a metal denture. These tend to feel smaller in your mouth because the metal is stronger and can be used in thinner cross-section. They usually incorporate clasps in their design so can ‘clip in’ but they take longer to manufacture and are more expensive.
This is a prosthetic tooth cemented to an adjacent supporting tooth to fill the gap and is a non-removable prosthesis.The advantages of a bridge are that they are fixed in place (you do not have to remove them to clean), and they are less expensive than the implant option. There are 2 types of bridge, which differ in the way they are cemented onto the supporting tooth:
A “Resin Retained Bridge” sticks on the back of the next-door tooth. This requires less tooth to be drilled away and therefore is seen as healthier in some instances.
A “Conventional Bridge” uses a full coverage crown cemented on the supporting tooth. This is more stable and retentive but requires more tooth preparation.
This is a completely artificial tooth from root to tip. The root is made from a titanium screw which is inserted and binds to your jaw bone, then a crown or bridge can be fixed onto this. It is a very good long term option provided you look after it and keep it clean. However it is a long treatment time, usually completed within about 1 year and it will require multiple visits to an implant dentist that we can refer you to. It is likely you will need a 3D scan of your jaw bone first in order to ensure you are suitable for a dental implant and does involve some minor surgical procedures.